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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Representing the 6th District of New York

Congresswoman Meng: No On Minibus With Border Wall Funding

Jul 27, 2017
Press Release
Congresswoman successfully champions multiple priorities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a first-term member of the House Appropriations Committee, voted against the “minibus,” a package of four appropriations bills that included Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies; Defense; and Legislative Branch Appropriations bills.
 
“H.R. 3219, the so-called ‘security minibus,’ far from keeping us secure, abandons our morals and priorities,” said Meng. “Not only will it waste $1.6 billion on a senseless border wall, funding that could instead be used for other programs such as Meals on Wheels or LIHEAP that millions of Americans count on, it will devastate investments in clean energy, hinder pollution prevention efforts, and ultimately trigger spending cuts across government agencies that will deeply hurt American families. The American people expect and deserve responsible and principled spending legislation, and this minibus does not fit the bill. I could not in good conscience support it.”
 
The minibus passed in the House by a vote of 235-192. Despite Meng’s no vote on the overall appropriations package, several items that she championed during the appropriations process were included in the minibus:
 
Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
 
  • Bill report language encouraging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pursue projects that prevent and mitigate flood damage associated with ice jams in regions comprised of cities whose historic flooding has been caused predominantly by winter snowmelt and ice floes. Every year, flooding that results from ice jams costs the American economy millions of dollars. This measure will allow regions susceptible to ice jam flooding, such as New York’s Mohawk River Basin, to get the resources they need to mitigate and prevent future damage.
 
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Bill
 
  • Bill report language encouraging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to build upon the success of its existing flu immunization program and expand the concept to other immunizations, such as pneumococcal and zoster vaccines.
 
Defense Appropriations Bill
 
  • Bill report language encouraging outreach and recruiting programs focused on increasing officer accessions from Minority Serving Institutions. Minority communities remain underrepresented in the general officer ranks across the military, and this much-needed provision would help build a more diverse military.
     
  • Bill report language requiring the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a program that encourages members of the Armed Forces serving as health professionals to pursue jobs with the Veterans Health Administration upon their discharge or separation from the military.
 
Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill
 
  • Bill report language encouraging the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) to explore the feasibility of making listening devices available in additional foreign languages. Thousands of visitors from foreign countries visit the U.S. Capitol building each year, and though the CVC provides brochures in thirteen languages, listening devices are only available in five languages.
 
In addition to the items included in the four appropriations bills in the minibus, Meng also championed the below items that were included in appropriations legislation approved by the full Appropriations Committee. The remaining appropriations bills may head to the House floor for a vote before the end of the current fiscal year on September 30, 2017.
 
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
 
  • Full funding for the Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, which ensures that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.
     
  • Increased funding for the FDA Medical and Radiological Devices Program, which ensures the safety and effectiveness of medical devices and eliminates unnecessary human exposure to manmade radiation from medical, occupational, and consumer products.
     
  • Bill report language encouraging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue appropriate guidance on the use of potentially harmful colorants in menstrual hygiene cosmetic products.
 
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
 
  • $5 million for the Children of Incarcerated Parents Program, which enhances and maintains parental and family relationships for incarcerated parents as a reentry or recidivism reduction strategy.
     
  • $2 million for the Girls in the Juvenile Justice System Program, which provides grants for responses and strategies tailored to the particular needs of girls in the juvenile justice system.
     
  • Full funding for the Public Safety Officer Benefits Program, which provides death benefits to surviving family of federal, state, or local public safety officers who perished in the line of duty.
 
Financial Services and General Government House Appropriations Bill
 
  • $8.89 million for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program, double the funding initially included in the bill, and almost $2.5 million above the President’s budget request. This program offers free tax assistance to individuals who are 60 years old and older.
     
  • $123 million for the Department of Treasury Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, which protects our national security by combatting international terrorism financing, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, weapon proliferations, and other threats through issuing sanctions and supporting law enforcement investigative efforts. Meng asked for at least $120 million for this program.
 
Homeland Security Appropriations Bill
 
  • $50 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative Nonprofit Security Grant Program, double the enacted funding level from last fiscal year and consistent with the amount supported by more than 100 Members of Congress. This program provides funding for target-hardening and physical security enhancements for eligible non-profits that face a high risk of a terrorist attack, such as Jewish Community Centers and Mosques. 
     
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
 
  • $423,000 for the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center, which works to increase the public’s appreciation for the heritage and history of Asian Pacific Americans, and strives to empower Asian Pacific American communities by increasing their sense of inclusion within America’s national culture. 
     
  • $57 million for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, preventing the $3 million cut proposed in the President’s budget request. This amount is consistent with Meng’s efforts on the Committee prior to her joining more than 60 Congressional colleagues on a letter to Interior Subcommittee Chairman Calvert and Ranking Member McCollum also calling for the same amount.
 
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
 
  • $300 million for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Payment Program, preventing the $5 million cut proposed in the President’s budget request. This program provides funding to freestanding children’s hospitals’ graduate medical education programs to train their resident physicians.
     
  • Bill report language urging the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to intensify its current efforts to find a cure for the hepatitis B virus.
     
  • Bill report language urging the National Cancer Institute to issue targeted calls for proposals and create an ad hoc special emphasis panel to review liver cancer – the second deadliest cancer in the U.S. – research applications. It also urges close collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases on issues related to hepatitis B virus research.
 
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill
 
  • Bill report language urging the Secretary to appoint a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism as quickly as possible, mirroring Meng’s questioning of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during last month’s Committee hearing. 
     
  • Bill report language pertaining to the availability of feminine hygiene products in international aid and development programs.
     
  • $90.664 million for Anti-Poaching and Wildlife Trafficking Programs, $10.664 million more than what Meng requested, and $265 million for Biodiversity and Conservation Programs. Meng has consistently led a bipartisan letter requesting that these important global programs be fully funded.